The promotion of information technology, technical and vocational education was imperative to financially empower youth and take full advantage of the government as well as CPEC projects. Ikhtair Wali Khan, PMN KP spokesman and former member provincial assembly told APP on Sunday that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has launched scores of programmes and initiatives for the promotion of technical and IT education for financial empowerment of youth. He said the present government has launched various uplift projects for financial empowerment of youth including provision of 2,000 Internships for young engineers, youth transformation programs for 20 underdeveloped districts in Pakistan including KP, innovation fund and 75 National Top Talent Scholarships Programme besides free laptop schemes, adding 600 students were sent to China for technical education to take full advantage of CPEC’s projects. He said the demands for technical workforce has jacked up due to CPEC’s projects and establishment of special economic zones (SEZ) including the one Rashakai SEZ in Nowshera being a gateway to Central Aisan Republics through Afghanistan that would turned KP a hub of business and industrialization. He said that CPEC has the potential to generate 1.2 million direct jobs for youth, especially in agriculture, food, tourism, mineral processing, oil and gas and socioeconomic services in Pakistan. Professor Dr Zilakat Malik, former Chairman Economics Department, University of Peshawar said that demand of skilled labour has increased manifolds in Pakistan in the wake of CPEC’s projects, mushroom growth of housing societies and GULF’s companies’ high demand for skilled wworkforce and that whopping investment in technical education was required to promote industrialization, SMEs and capture local and international markets. “When our youth visit GULF for employment, they spend normally six months to two years there to get LTV, HTV driving licenses and others operational expertise of different machineries to get recruitment in foreign companies, however, the labour from neighbouring countries get these jobs easily due to prior expertise and experiences,” he said.